Eric Schneider, sitting in Green Courte Partners' Steamboat Springs office, talks with Eric Dowling in the firm's Chicago area office over a video call. Advances in technology have made it easier for more people to work and live where they want.

Photo by John F. Russell

Eric Schneider, sitting in Green Courte Partners' Steamboat Springs office, talks with Eric Dowling in the firm's Chicago area office over a video call. Advances in technology have made it easier for more people to work and live where they want.

Work anywhere, play here: Room with a view

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Work anywhere, play here

The location-neutral workforce in Routt County is growing, and more people are able to work and live where they want.

Eric Schneider is a runner. Not just a daily jog around town kind of runner — an ultra runner.

You’d assume ultra runners have to be passionate to treat 50- and 100-mile races like a thrill rather than a harrowing punishment, and Schneider’s officemate Sally TeStrake in Green Courte Partners’ Yampa Street space can attest to his enthusiasm.

Schneider has run in five 50-mile races and is again signed up for the Leadville Trail 100 race. He said he talks about running constantly to TeStrake, who’s the office manager for the downtown office along the Yampa River.

Schneider, 28, looks out from his desk onto Emerald Mountain and the trail system within a few minutes’ walk of his office and home.

Before, when he lived in northern Virginia (also where he was born and spent part of his childhood), Schneider would drive hours to run in the Appalachian Mountains, and now, he has access to all the trails and networks in Steamboat and can even hop onto a route that runs from Canada to Mexico along the Continental Divide Trail.

Schneider said that before taking the associate position with Green Courte, which is a private equity real estate firm, he didn’t think the lifestyle he enjoys now was possible.

He always thought the choice was between taking the big city job or moving to the mountains for a couple years and explaining the resume gap later.

Schneider was finishing up his MBA in real estate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison when a recruiter for Green Courte came to campus. Green Courte is headquartered in the Chicago area, and Schneider initially was talking to the recruiter about positions there before she mentioned having a position in Steamboat Springs to fill, as well.

He stopped her right there. “Steamboat. I’ve heard of that,” Schneider said.

He’d spent time in Boulder and had been impressed with Colorado and the opportunities to train for trail races.

“That opportunity was too good to pass up,” Schneider said.

Here in Steamboat, Schneider does the same job as other Green Courte associates in Chicago who are tasked with asset management.

“But this is my view,” he said, motioning across the Yampa River.

He’s never lived in a town as small as Steamboat, but after just six months, Schneider’s adapted well to the new reality of Steamboat.

“The people here are super friendly,” Schneider said. “It doesn’t feel constricting or confining at all. It’s just really liberating up here.”

The relaxed attitude of the mountains is reflected in the atmosphere of the small office that typically has only three or four people working together at one time.

On the other side of weekly video calls, the associates in Green Courte’s Chicago office wear pressed shirts and slacks sitting around a black lacquer table. Schneider wears flannel to work and switches from snow boots to his gray wool office slippers once inside. The decision to shave his woodsman beard was more of a concession to his girlfriend than to his bosses.

But he keeps much the same hours as his Midwest counterparts, talks with the same co-workers and analyzes the same real

estate investments.

Working in the Steamboat office also has given Schneider more face-time with the founder of Green Courte, Randy Rowe, who lives in Routt County part-time, and Mark Scully, who is the managing director of the firm.

Schneider said he doesn’t see any tradeoff working in Steamboat rather than a larger office.

“I don’t really see the downside to being here,” he said.

Schneider said the amenities of the big city never appealed that much to him. He’d much rather have the trails and outdoors of Colorado and Steamboat.

“If it’s something that’s for you, it’s impossible to beat.”

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